After the police received a call from a witness, Chief Michael Foligno raced to help, according to reports. He borrowed a kayak from a gas station near a marina in Elmwood Park and tried to paddle through the icy waters using a shovel.
"It wasn't working, though, so I lay down on my stomach and just started digging into the ice with my fingers to claw my way out," Foligno told NorthJersey.com. "It felt like eternity with her screaming."
He got to the woman and her toddler and managed to get them into the kayak, according to Daily Voice, and then stayed with them until the Fire Department arrived.
Two firefighters on an ice sled reached them, tied a rope to the kayak, and brought the chief, woman, and child back to shore.
Medics brought the woman and girl to the hospital for treatment.
Investigators believe the two were trying to cross the river when the ice broke.
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